EuroBasket: France win first ever major title after defeating Lithuania in final
Last Updated: September 22, 2013 11:26pm
France defeated Lithuania 80-66 in the final of EuroBasket to claim their first ever major basketball title.
Star player Tony Parker was shut down but Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw stepped up with 17 and 15 points respectively, while Linas Kleiza led Lithuania with 20.
The clash in Ljublajna was closely contested until the end of the third quarter, when France went on a 14-0 run which kept their opponents scoreless for three minutes.
The advantage was a comfortable 22 points with three minutes remaining in the third quarter and Lithuania never threatened a comeback in the fourth.
San Antonio Spurs star Parker had just four points through the first three quarters but finished with 12 and was given the tournament MVP award.
France lost in the final to Spain two years ago but eliminated the defending champions at the last-four stage this time, with Parker scoring 32 points.
The victory ended France's long wait for one of the big international titles. They have twice finished as silver medallists in the Olympics and also finished as European runners-up two times.
"It's hard to describe how I feel. The journey was unbelievable. I wouldn't change a thing," Parker said.
"I won the title. I'm a little tired. I felt it in the quarters and semis. And before the game the coach said, 'trust your team-mates. If you score 10 points we will win the final'. And he was right."
Spain defeated Croatia 92-66 earlier on Sunday to clinch the bronze medal.